My daughter had an appointment at the oral surgeon this morning. We'd been preparing for months - we both knew what was coming. There was no avoiding it. She has this impacted tooth, facing the wrong way, and it has to be exposed from under the gum.
It's no big deal, the orthodontist assured us. Really. It sounds much worse than it is.
And when we showed up at our check-in time of 10:30, we were ready. Katie was in a pretty good mood. I'd been keeping her spirits up all morning, letting her look at pooch-related items now that dad has maybe, just maybe, relented on the dog issue.
But by 10:45, when three or four patients holding bloody ice packs to their faces had limped through reception, she wasn't quite as sparkly. Ditto by 11. By 11:15, when they called her back, she was a little jittery. So was I. Ten minutes later, they called me back, too.
"She's very emotional," said the very nice nurse. "I've been trying to make her laugh, but she's crying."
When I saw her, sitting in that chair, trying to act like she wasn't crying, I almost started weeping, too. But I didn't. I braided her hair. I sang a silly song. I took deep breaths with her. I crossed my eyes and made faces until she laughed. And when the doctor finally walked in and gave her a little laughing gas to prepare for the iv, I slipped out.
Then I went back into the waiting room, walked into the bathroom and cried and cried.
And I didn't even have a tooth out.